With Valentines day around the corner, I think it’s finally time to share my birthday trip this past May (2017) to Paris, France for my 40th. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl (after watching ‘An American in Paris’) to visit the city of Lights & Love and my wonderful husband made that dream a reality.
I of course documented every second of our “Paris on a Budget” trip, so that I would never forget a single moment. Don’t worry friends, I won’t bore you with ALL the photos, but here is Part 1 of the most fantastic trip ever!
Our hotel location (Novotel Paris Centre Eiffel Tower):
My husband knows me well, very well so it was a wonderful surprise that I found out we were staying a short 20 minute walk to my favourite monument ever…The Eiffel Tower AND we had a view from our hotel room. (Note: Before you look at photo below please note that I said a “view” of the Eiffel Tower)
Our room was an L Shape which meant that we also had a fantastic view of the River Seine (we would sit here at the end of our nights with a bottle of Champagne and cheese and enjoy the beauty of Paris). It was so great that I literally ran around my room trying to figure out what to stare at first (no joke lol).
While I was staring out my window in awe that I was actually IN Paris I noticed there was a mini Statue of Liberty on the bridge you see in the image above. Turns out it was a gift from America to Paris in 1889 (as you know France gave the US the original Lady Liberty). COOL!
Extra Read: Extended history of why this mini statue exists can be found HERE.
We arrived on May Day (May 1st), so many things were closed but that did not stop us from heading out and exploring. We were starving so we did dinner first at a pub called, O’Neil (sorry no french food this night) that was hopping with Parisians and tourists and had good reviews. It was wonderful! The burgers were outstanding super inexpensive and they also brewed their own beer (which my husband and I loved as we are craft beer fans). Plus the staff and the manager treated us like we were old friends, we loved it and ended up going back on my birthday later on in the week.
After dinner we hit the pavement and just started to wander the streets taking in the beauty & history that was around us.
We eventually ended up at the Louvre and took in all that was there (we had tickets to see the inside of the Louvre later in the week).
Our evening ended with a visit to the Eiffel Tower. OMG the tower is even more beautiful up close and personal, I shed a tear it was so wonderful to see.
Day 2: Notre-Dame and wherever else we could visit on a budget before our feet fell off.
As stated above, my husband and I were on a budget and from our research Paris is known to be pricey. To save money, we went to the large grocery store that was next to our hotel each day and stocked up on food to eat as we walked around. This really helped us on costs. Also in our neighbourhood was a great bakery that sold delicious baquettes (and sandwiches) that we purchased to add to our food stash. Great cost saving tip!
Notre-Dame was a must see on our list and it was totally free to visit as long as you did not head up to the Bell Towers and the crypt (which had a fee). I have been itching to see this church in person ever since my Art History classes in University, especially the Rose Windows AND the Flying Buttresses (an incredible archtiectural detail). I was not disappointed.
My Flying Butresses-So PRETTY!
After Notre-Dame the sun was out and the weather was beautiful and we had nothing planned EXPECT to find me a French Macaron. ‘Un Dimanche A Paris‘ was where we stopped and boy was it good.
The last half of our first full day in Paris, included picking up a bottle of wine and some cheese and heading to the most beautiful park I have ever seen (we don’t have parks like this in Toronto), called ‘Jardin du Luxembourg‘. The park is located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, was created beginning in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace (seen below). The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace. It covers 23 hectares and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, model sailboats on its circular basin, and picturesque Medici Fountain, built-in1620 (Source).
Palm Trees, kids playing with boats in a pond and even an Orangerie (bottom left image), this park has it all.
BUT I think my favourite part of this whole visit was having a bottle of wine with my husband and watching the world go by. In fact my husband was so relaxed that he ended up falling asleep and I was left alone with a half finished bottle of wine………Hiccup!
After a long day and some dinner at a delish Vietnamese restaurant, we headed back to our hotel to have a bottle of Champagne and watch the boats go down the Seine, but not before checking out the Eiffel Tower light show from our local bridge. A great way to end our 2nd day in Paris.
Stay tuned for part 2 friends!
Question time: Have you ever been to Paris? If yes, what did you love? If no, what would you be most excited about seeing if you did visit? Share in the comments below!